The Great Googa Mooga

The World’s Most Expensive Grilled Cheese and Other Parables.

Story and Photos by Teo Babini -

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A Less than Pious Person (Long Nights, Hard Mornings)

Amongst the people you could count in my pad at seven AM Sunday morning were four gay men (one with studded leather gloves) and a wonderful little Tartar gal from Russia. I woke up a couple hours later and dragged my ass to the kitchen to bury my early morning blues in the milk of the palm bosom. That old ideal coco nectar of potassium filled life water. It was all too familiar deja vu when I dug the downtown Q, Brooklyn bound, only I had more clothes on than the prior day, on account of not going to Brighton (Beach) and it being a projected five degrees cooler. Destination: The Great Googa Mooga.

Just Food photo©Teo J. Babini

The Messenger on the Road (Like Noah, but on the Q Train):

I missed my nest and had a long day ahead… The train was delayed… “Burgundy Street Blues” on repeat. Crossing the bridge, I was reminded of how bright and beautiful sunny Sundays could be, even if you woke up bloodshot bleary, fondling your way to paradise. A cripple got on the train right behind a Jesus freak. The divine speaker had a Caribbean accent and spit God’s gospel on deaf ears. Meanwhile, the man with the cane’s got Brooklyn written on his forehead and he’s lookin’ like he lost religion a long time ago, and so had I. Keep on preachin’; I’ll just engage in the sins of late afternoon. They call it foreword thinking, I call it bitter and having felt unjust hand cufflinks around wrist and bench anchor. His name was Jes$y, or so said his forearm, and the dollar sign in his name couldn’t afford him a smile. But apparently God’s name was magnified and we could all be saved… Even Jes$y.

Hamageddon photo©Teo J. Babini

The Arrival (DanTeo’s Inferno):

I got off at Prospect Park. It was too hot for my jean jacket. She lived on my shoulder for the remainder of the day. I walked into the park, and found myself at the “Extra Mooga” (Like VIP, except you pay two-hundred fifty dollars for it) entrance. The lady told me I had to walk to the other end of the park for the general entrance. A little obnoxious, but I didn’t mind the walk across the lonesome valley. I was mostly worried I would get lost in the tree-lined labyrinth. I finally got to the gates of the great inferno and had to empty my pockets and submit to a hand search (At least the Cerberus security guard was polite for once). I B-lined for the stage to vibe out with an old soul man, reminiscent of Mr. James Brown with his funk dance moves and wild screaming toward the heavens. I appreciated the jams and the red suit, but he was too far from the audience to really feel the energy. Live music is always better in a more intimate setting. I took out mon pettite schedule and put it next to the map they had given me at the entrance so I could navigate my previous days plan. To my dismay, I realized that almost every scheduled event I intended on attending was in the goddamn Extra Mooga section. Suddenly feeling like a lost puppy, alone in a field full of drunken miscreants, I was about to embark on a spiritual journey…

Serious Beef! photo©Teo J. Babini

The First of Three Wise Men (My Body is my Temple):

First things first, give me this day my daily juice. I rolled by the Juice Press booth and inquired about a beverage that contained both pineapple and coconut (my favorites). The man handed me a pitch perfect Pina Colada smoothie and then began meditating on my health. He noticed the Winstons in my shirt pocket and told me not to smoke too many. He then went on to tell me the benefits of cold-pressed versus rotary juice. Something about more weight and more nutrients. Next was binge drinking versus binge juicing? Benders, he said, did not allow your adrenal glands to rest, where as a juice fast might have my better (lower) half standing at full attention, Levitra style Leviathan. I’ve always been a juice guy, but who knew it did more than enhance the taste. After that, I did some wandering. It didn’t take long for the juice high to wear off, so I grabbed some lovely looking chicken fingers with barbecue sauce and scalded my mouth on the greasy goodness. Some very good Variety iced coffee and I was ready to continue my quest.

Drunken Meditation photo©Teo J. Babini

Homem Sábio Número Dois (Hear No Evil):

I was waltzing around the big ol’ beer tent, when I ran into a great big band of Blue Vipers from Brooklyn. I’ve always been a musical nostalgic, and these cool cats invoked a sense of Bourbon Street Jazz that had my mind exploding with visions of barefoot brass bands on dilapidated street corners praying to the crooked moon with old rusty horns and sweaty foreheads from the swamp like environs and hot brandy. Among the four piece was a guitarist with a swing era voice, a stand-up sub baseman (who turned out to be a stand-up guy), a dread-locked mad man playing the metal finger lap dance on his washboard percussion, and a trumpeter with a better mustache then mine. A couple was swing dancing on the grass. I cut out to sneak a smoke. As I stood there drowning in sweltering sun, the ‘stache came ’round the corner and recognized me from the audience. So we had mustache meeting and started jivin’ ’bout old music, mandolins, and poetic daughters. We shared a few phone poems and somehow Cartola came up. Next thing I know, he’s singing samba songs in pretty proficient Portuguese. This, really, was the highlight of my day… But, now, I needed lunch, so I scrounged around for the shortest line I could find in purgatory (a difficult task in an ocean of crazy cues). I finally found an empty counter… Fifteen dollar grilled cheese… Need I say more?

Chihuahua Dog photo©Teo J. Babini

The Final Wise Guy (Gluttony, When Water Becomes Wine and Burgers Blaspheme):

My surroundings began to look slightly Sodom with all the little demons red skinned (from the sun) and red faced (from the booze). Shirtless, tattooed maniacs passed out in the shadows of death, and a river Styx of craft beer flowing under foot (only these ferrymen charge a bit more). I stepped over the bodies and made my way the fiery, smoke-filled, raw flesh full, burger section. Here I met the drunken monk, a short, sweating man of the grill. Inebriated warrior chef, stumbling around searching for Adderall. He made a grub gamble which didn’t pan out and had had a little romance with the health department about hat wearing the day before. He was a man who loved his cat… What more can I say… I left him sleeping peacefully under a tree. For the last supper, I grabbed a bacon-wrapped Chihuahua Crif Dog and tots. Avocado and sour cream filled, I sun drunk stumbled towards home. I picked up some Mulberry Street style deep fried Oreos on my way out, from a cute little gal in the sweet section. Of course, I lost my way once I left the festival, but at this point I was already sleepwalking. Try dreaming when your whole day felt like a mirage. Religion was born in the desert.

2 Responses to “The Great Googa Mooga”

  1. […] of Brooklyn, the trumpeter of which I had befriended in the dizzying hallucinatory adventure of The Great Googa Mooga. The early New Orleans style jazz I heard from them there inspired me to grab some of their albums […]

  2. […] bottle of Vital Force – raw non-dairy superfood ‘yogurt’. “Here. I work over there at Juice Press.” he continued and then started to walk […]